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A standard RPG item which allows the player to immediately exit the current dungeon with no questions asked, returning them to a safe harbor so they can treat their party's injuries (and save their game) before attempting another crawl.
Of course, the downside is that it may be a long trip to get back to that point in the dungeon, but this can still be preferable to getting killed outright (especially if Continuing Is Painful). Many seasoned adventurers will keep one or two on hand (even if it encroaches on their Inventory Management Puzzle) just in case they run afoul of Demonic Spiders or the Boss in Mook Clothing.
The exact details and restrictions on an Escape Rope will vary depending on the system, but common specifications include:
- The "safe harbor" is a predetermined location, usually with access to a Save Point and/or Trauma Inn -- common destinations include the entrance of a dungeon, a nearby town, a Hub Level or the World Map.
- It only works from inside "dungeon" areas: Creepy forests, marshlands, underground caverns, decrepit ancient temples, etc., which the player explores from the outside inwards. "Overworld" locations such as towns, connecting fields/roads between towns/areas, the Hub Level or World Map itself, usually favor the Warp Whistle instead.
- Note that if the dungeon is inverted, where the player starts in the middle and traverses outwards, the Escape Rope will probably return them to the middle where they started, or it may not even work at all.
- It generally won't allow the player to flee from Random Encounters or Boss Battles in progress -- especially if a Fight Woosh is used to transition from field movement into battle. (That is usually the job for an Escape Battle Technique.)
Compare and contrast Warp Whistle, which allows instantaneous travel to previously visited locations but generally only works from "overworld" areas like towns; and Escape Battle Technique, which is similar but in battle.
See also Door to Before, where the trip "back" from a dungeon conveniently unlocks a shortcut through the area so the player can make a return trip (and possibly future excursions) without as much hassle.
- Dungeons and Dragons had the cleric/priest spell "Word of Recall", which returned the user to a specifically (previously) designated sanctuary. The "Succor" spell created an object which allowed anyone breaking it to be teleported the caster's sanctuary.
- Dragon Quest has the "Evac" spell used for exiting dungeons. It is distinct from the "Zoom" spell, which serves as a Warp Whistle between towns.
- The Divine Intervention and Almsivi Intervention The Elder Scrolls:Morrowind which teleport the player to the closest Nine Divines shrine (though in practice "nearest Imperial Fort", as they house the only ones recognized by the spell) or Almsivi temple (respectively). The most common use? Hauling more loot than you can carry by foot back to town.
- Etrian Odyssey called theirs "Warp Wires". Considering how deep the dungeon floors tend to go and how difficult it is to slog through them, it's a good idea to always have a few on hand.
- "Warp"/"Teleport"/"Exit" spells in the earlier Final Fantasy games. A very important skill to have considering that in-dungeon Save Points weren't introduced until installment number four. Depending on the game, they may also work as a quick escape from random battles.
- Because most Zelda games have a save-anywhere system, if the player saves and quits while inside a dungeon, they will pick up from the dungeon's entrance.
- In The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, using the "Moon Mirror" inside a dungeon returned the player to the entrance. (Using it outside allowed the player to teleport from the Dark to the Light world)
- In The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening, playing Manbo's Mambo on the Ocarina teleports the player to the entrance of a dungeon. Outside of those, it teleports the player to a tiny pond right next to the Mysterious Woods.
- In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Farore's Wind is a quasi-example, because the first time you use it in a dungeon it merely establishes a warp point at that location, and a second usage returns you to that point. Using your Warp Whistle inside a dungeon also allows you to escape the dungeon in the process.
- In The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, playing the "Song of Soaring" inside a dungeon would return the player to the entrance. (Outside, it functioned as a Warp Whistle.)
- In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, the birdlike Ooccoo could be found inside every dungeon, and allowed the player to teleport out at any time -- its son would even allow the player to teleport back in again to the same room they left.
- In The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, while Link does not acquire any items to perform this function, the bird-statue Save Points located inside dungeons allow Link to teleport out at any time. Other Save Points located on the surface's overworld allow Link to teleport back up to the sky realm, which also enables them to function as roundabout Warp Whistles since the player is allowed to choose which Save Point in a region they want to land at.
- Persona 3 and Persona 4 have the "Traesto" spell, which returns you to the entrance of the current dungeon; Persona 4 also features the consumable item "Goho-M" which provides the same purpose.
- Most shops in the Pokémon series stock Escape Ropes, and the field move "Dig" provides this function if used in an underground area. The move "Teleport" can both flee from wild Pokemon battles as well as return the player to the nearest Pokemon Center. ("Fly" is a Warp Whistle, and only works outdoors.)
- Similarly, in the Pokémon Ranger spinoff series, Pokemon with the "Teleport" field move can return the player to the entrance of an area.
- The Roguelike Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-offs substitute Escape Orbs, which provide the same function. The lack of division between field movement and combat meant Escape orbs could be used even while fighting hostile Pokemon (except for Boss Battles).
- Some World of Mana games allow the player to purchase Escape Ropes from shops, while in Secret of Mana, it was a resuable item called the "Magic Rope".
- The "Hearth Stone" in World of Warcraft allows the user to teleport to a previously designated "home" (e.g. Trauma Inn), but requires a cooldown time of 30 minutes after use.
- Many classes also receive special abilities which mimic the effect. Shamans have astral recall which is like having a second hearthstone linked to the same place and Death Knights can send themselves directly back to the Ebon Hand HQ (handy since, unlike everyone else, D Ks don't have trainers in other cities or towns).
- In the Roguelike game Angband, the "Word of Recall" spell (which can be obtained from various magical items) allows you to teleport to and from the top of the dungeon. The catch is that it doesn't take effect instantaneously.
- Mr. Gency's Exit in the Disgaea series and Makai Kingdom. In Phantom Brave, there's a job class with an innate "escape from this dungeon by spending X amount of money" spell.
- Both of the Diablo games feature the spell "Town Portal", which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but leaves the door open for a return trip to the combat zone.
- In the first game, it takes you to a specific spot in Tristram (sensible as it's the only town) and is a fairly low level spell that has the same effect no matter what your stats are, so even non magic-focused character builds could learn it. Scrolls would also drop fairly regularly.
- In Diablo II, it's no longer available as a learnable skill since the skill trees are now strictly segregated by class, but the game does include a compact storage system for carrying a large number of spell scrolls for this purpose. It always leads to the town of the current act. If you used one in the final battle vs. Diablo, he'd cast bone prison on it while you were gone, and you'd teleport into a trap.
- A common multiplayer strategy was to use the portals of a party member instead of yours, as the portal would only disappear after its creator took it; teammates could use it back and forth as many times as needed. Thus one could make a semi-permanent teleport to an area with just two party members and two scrolls - and since portals are labeled by player, its rather easy to perform.
- Warcraft III resurrected the scroll of town portal as an item for heroes that allows a hero and his/her retinue of nearby units to teleport to a friendly base.
- In Diablo III, the Town Portal is back to being a learnable skill, but now with a cast time.
- The "Retreat" Psynergy from the Golden Sun series, while technically a spell instead of an item, has this function -When cast inside a dungeon, it will return you to the dungeon's entrance. It is known by Isaac, Felix and Matthew, the three player characters.
- The first Phantasy Star has the "Exit" spell to return to the entrance of a dungeon, and the "Fly" spell to return to the last church visited. The latter can make the game Unwinnable if the last church visited was in a town that becomes inaccessible for a period after certain plot events. The second and fourth games have the "Hinas" and "Ryuka" spells which have similar effects, although in the fourth game the latter is more a Warp Whistle. Items that copy these spells are available as well. The third game had an odd case in the "Grantz" spell which does this but cannot be used normally; it is only used in a Cutscene at the end of the game.
- The "Escape Hex" in Resonance of Fate returns you to the world map from anywhere in a dungeon except an Inescapable Ambush battle (mostly bosses). It quickly becomes the standard way of exiting dungeons after finishing them, because you can't save in a dungeon and it would really suck to beat the boss only to die from the Respawning Enemies on your way out.
- Final Fantasy VIII: While in the Tomb of the Unknown King, the player can warp to the entrance by accessing the map and pressing the Δ button. However, this causes the player to lose a SeeD rank. Which may or may not matter to you depending on how long you've been wandering in circles.
- Earthbound has the Exit Mouse, which instantly returns you out of a inside level. The game's rather easy, but it's still a good idea to have one on hand.
- Digimon World and Digimon World 2 have the Auto-Pilot to take the player back to their base. In the former, it's a one-use item you should keep a stock of in your inventory; in the latter, it's an option in your dungeon vehicle, but it can be jammed by traps, so you might still need a stock of repairs on hand.
- Metal Walker has several of these including Crane and Get Blown, all of which return you to the last camp you entered.
- In Legacy of the Wizard, using a Crystal item will instantly warp you back to the surface.
- The original Dragon Slayer had a RETURN spell that transported the player back to the home.
- The "Escape Twine" from Slime Forest Adventure.
- In Dark Souls, the Homeward miracle and the Homeward Bone items allow you to instantly warp to the last bonfire rested with all your belongings intact.
- Shining in the Darkness has the Egress spell, which can be used during battle (unless Pyra's running low on MP), and the Angel Wings, which can't.
- Deadly Towers had orange scrolls to warp you back to the holy flame (the natural destination after defeating a boss) and green scrolls to warp you back to the starting area.
- Okage: Shadow King has Guidance Jewels which warp you to the entrance of a dungeon.